You probably can relate to this statement from a home care colleague: “We review hundreds of applications to hire one, maybe two caregivers that are still around by the end of 30 working days. With high caregiver turnover rates, we know many agency owners have this experience. Over the hundreds of conversations with home care owners, we’ve heard variations of this statement and recommend making one change to the way you approach job ads (and it has to do with the caregiver job description.)
What we see in most job ads is many bullet points with industry-specific language (“monitor aspects of the client’s health under the direction of a nurse”, “Assist with ADLs”). This language is not widely understood by a first-time caregiver or career switcher. How can this information be presented in a more reader-friendly way?
Caregiver Job Description: A new approach to presenting caregiver job ads
Here is an example of a caregiver job description presented in a way that a first-time caregiver or career switcher can easily understand. In HR jargon, this job ad has elements of a “job preview.”
What is a job preview you may ask?
A job preview is a recruiting tool used to communicate both the good and bad aspects of a job. Essentially, it provides a prospective employee a realistic view of what the job entails. It gives details for candidates of the work environment, duties, and expectations to help them decide if they are a good match for the work. And by the way, a realistic job preview can help reduce turnover.
With the idea of a job preview in mind, better caregiver job ads should describe, in plain language, what the typical day for a caregiver looks like.
Here’s a new way to write your caregiver job descriptions for your job ads:
1. Why you might love this job
Caregiving is the job for you if you want to make a real difference in people’s lives during a difficult time. You’ll build relationships with your clients, their families as you work in their home, and your coworkers as you spend more time providing care and communicating your client’s condition with other members of your client’s care team (e.g., nurses, doctors, etc.) Over time, you’ll learn what clients you work best with, where you prefer to work (home vs. facility), and your work hours. As you share them with our team in the office, we’ll match you with shifts that best match your preferences.
2. Why you might hate this job
You will be responsible for the health, safety, and happiness of your client, which is a big deal. There will be days when you may have to accept a last-minute shift that is far from your home, or with a client who isn’t feeling good and happy. We (in the office) get stressed out too, and may not be able to explain everything, every time. You’ll need to work both independently and with other team members (like the nurse, the shift scheduler), which may be frustrating at times.
3. What a regular day looks like
Depending on your client’s specific health condition, you can expect to bathe, feed, and dress them every time you visit. You’ll learn your client’s preferences and quirks and possibly know them better than their own family members. For some clients, your day might include taking them on activities and driving them to doctors’ appointments, go grocery shopping or run errands. As part of your shift, we’ll also ask you to keep track and write down how your client is doing. You have to let us know if any significant changes are happening with the client’s health and life situation. Occasionally, you’ll also be working in a senior care facility, where you’ll interact with more staff from the facility.
4. What we need in order to interview you
Because of the clients we serve, we require at least a high school education and 1 year of experience as a caregiver. We’ll ask for one reference from a former manager and another from a former client. Please have these references handy so we can spend more time getting to know you, and less time chasing down documents/references.
5. What would make you stand out to our team
We hired a variety of caregivers who are all motivated by the desire to take care of our seniors and do the best job they can for their clients. What this means is we will help you come prepared. Prepared caregivers have their documents, references, and schedules ready to go. We value both your time and ours and want to make sure you get an answer from us as soon as possible. We look forward to learning more about you and possibly welcoming you to the team!
Note the difference between what we usually see on job boards and this job ad. Our job preview ad outlines what to expect from the work as a caregiver and the interview process. This is not what you usually see on job boards or company websites!
This job preview ad will help you stand out from the crowded field of agencies recruiting caregivers. It should also help candidates understand what their responsibilities look like in plain English, and understand what a particularly tough day would look like. This also leaves a section for 1) the minimum it takes to get an interview and 2) what gets a caregiver moved to the top of the interview pile.
By offering a realistic job preview in your caregiver job ads, agencies may not get as many applications but will get more motivated applicants. Those who pursue the application process will do so with better knowledge of what the work actually entails, through the good and the bad.
Here is another job description post you may like to read.
You can learn more about our article contributor, Jason Yu, here.